Dr. Lloyd Westby hoofs it up the beach ahead of Robbie Kelm in the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race. Over $20,000 was raised through this year’s event. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Okanagan Ogopogo bathtub race fundraising efforts over the top

In five years the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has raised over $120,000 for SOSM Foundation

Over the top.

When Jim Cavin of the Summerland Yacht Club first came up with the idea of the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race in 2015 as a fundraiser for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, he never imagined how successful it would be.

Last weekend was the end of the scheduled campaign and the total amount raised, specifically to help equip the new David E. Kampe Tower at the Penticton Regional Hospital, was more than seven times the initial goal, raising a reported $126,000.

READ MORE: Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

In the first year, alone organizers realized half the five-year goal at which point they upped the projected figure.

“Our original goal, really right at the beginning, we thought 30 ($30,000) so after the second race we thought we’ll try for 60 ($60,000) and after the third race we thought well, maybe we can do 120 ($120,000) and so here we are,” said Cavin. “The sponsors are the ones that made it so successful absolutely. At the park itself we make a bit of money from the raffle and we make a bit of money from the registrations but the vast majority comes from sponsors and donors.”

As well this year the silent auction at the wrap-up dinner Saturday night at the yacht club raised another $4,000.

“I think the contribution that the bathtub race has made to the foundation and to the David Kampe Tower is just more significant than really anybody can imagine. It’s bringing all the community in and getting them involved,” said Peter Steele, chair of the medical foundation. “Regardless of whether we only got a dollar out of it just the recognition from them doing the event and saying these proceeds are going to the hospital, I think we probably got numerous donations we didn’t even know were coming.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this.”

READ MORE: Tubbers revving up for fifth annual Okanagan Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race

Also, this year racers chipped in this time around in addition to the registration fees they paid.

“We experimented with offering cash prizes this year but everybody that won donated it back. We’re very happy with the outcome,” said Cavin, who is also second vice chair of the medical foundation.

He added it will likely be a couple of months before a decision is made about continuing the races in the coming years.


 

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Ashley Martin (front) and Robbie Kelm leave the starting gate at Saturday’s Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race at Powell Beach Park. In five years the event has raised over $120,000 for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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